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York businessman snaps up his second 'Neighbours' house
A BUSINESSMAN and fan of Australian soap opera Neighbours has paid almost £600,000 to secure his second "Ramsay Street" house at auction.
Melbourne-born Andrew Whitney, 37, outbid seven other hopefuls to land the property at 3 Pin Oak Court in Vermont South, near Melbourne - more famous as 30 Ramsay Street from the long-running Aussie show.
York-based Mr Whitney, director of private jet and helicopter charter flight company FlyMeNow, paid $867,000, or £592,125, for the house, the on-screen home of Jarrod 'Toadie' Rebecchi, played by Ryan Maloney.
Mr Whitney, who also runs Mansion nightclub in Micklegate, carried bidding $127,000 past the reserve to become his own neighbour after picking up 6 Pin Oak Court - the old home of the Robinsons - 16 years ago before moving to the UK.
He was awake at 3am UK time for the auction and made the call from the Mansion car park.
He said: "At the time, I was incredibly nervous. It was tough trying to appreciate the auction environment over the phone. It was phenomenally exciting, but incredibly stressful.
"Alan Fletcher - the actor who plays Dr Karl Kennedy in the show - tweeted me after the auction congratulating me, and I thought 'Your house is next, mate'.
"This is one of the most recognisable homes in Australia and it's a great investment."
After running a number of Australian companies, Mr Whitney moved to the UK and has held a range of positions, including his current role as commercial director of flymenow.co.uk.
About 150 fans and would-be buyers gathered for the auction, conducted by Barry Plant Group director Barry Plant. Buyers were not just vying for the house - residents are paid a substantial annual fee from the show's producers and agree to avoid changes to their facades without consultation.
Mr Whitney's childhood friend, Rick Beasley, raised his hand on Mr Whitney's behalf at the auction at £710,000, while wife Melanie relayed the action over the phone.
The house owner Faye Pierce, who built the four-bedroom home with her husband in 1973, said: "I'm so relieved. I was worried nobody would buy it.!